Big Impact of Technology on Healthcare Industry Symbolized by Telemedicine
Rapid advances in technology have created more convenience and efficiency in nearly every facet of our everyday lives; nowhere is this more evident than in the healthcare industry, and especially through the benefits provided through the benefits of telemedicine services.
Telemedicine, or the ability to remotely access and provide healthcare services and clinical information via the internet, through two-way video chats, through email, text message, or over the telephone, has revolutionized medical practice by allowing both patients and providers to benefit from more personal, cost-effective, safe and reliable methods of healthcare delivery without the need to meet in the traditional “face-to-face” doctor office setting.
Is there any difference in quality of care provided through Telehealth?
Several recent studies support the benefits of telemedicine by demonstrating virtually no difference between the quality of medical care provided, whether it be in person or provided via telemedicine. Additionally, a recent study published in the American Journal of Managed Care found that telehealth provides a wide variety of benefits for both patients and providers, these benefits range from convenient scheduling of appointments and reduced travel time for patients to the ability to more efficient scheduling and improved connection with patients for medical providers.
Telemedicine Benefits Realized by Healthcare Providers
1. An Advanced, More Profitable Business Model
With the ability to provide responsive consumer-based services virtually anywhere, and through the use of telemedicine, providers have access to a new, previously unavailable patient-base.
The convenience of flexible scheduling, extended hours, no travel, and reduced overhead costs associated with each appointment allow an avenue for improved revenue generation and increased profits for healthcare providers.
2. Expanded Access to Care For More Patients
The ability to reach beyond the traditional brick and mortar office gives providers the opportunity to expand access to care for both current and future patients. With an increased ability to provide both synchronous and asynchronous services, remotely monitor patient health, and to engage patients through mobile health outreach efforts, practitioners are continually finding more ways to expand patient care outside the normal or traditional delivery models.
3. Reduced Costly Patient No-Shows
Patient no shows are a major interrupter in the revenue stream of any practice. The convenience of receiving medical care services remotely, and most often from home, has been consistently shown to reduce patient no-shows by up to 50%. Considering that the average healthcare provider averages between a 5% to 7% no show rate, and just one no show per day can cost a practice anywhere between $30,000 and $100,000 in lost revenue each year (before factoring in costs associated with rescheduling, billing, and follow up), telemedicine offers a viable path to increased revenue.
4. Improved Patient Engagement
The convenience of telemedicine provides the opportunity for flexible, real-time care that patients expect and appreciate. With the focus quickly shifting to value-based care, personal engagement with patients has never been more essential to the success of your healthcare practice. Telehealth provides the remote format for providers to engage and educate patients, while at the same time continuing to monitor individual patient progress to ensure health outcomes are improving and ensuring a strong relationship between practitioner and patient.
5. Greater Opportunity For Collaboration and Overall Job Satisfaction Among Providers
Telemedicine increases collaboration between, and productivity of, medical staff, both of which improves the quality of care patients receive. A recent survey demonstrated that nearly 80% of health providers believe that telemedicine improves patient care and provider job performance.
Healthcare providers have a challenging, stressful, and often frustrating job. Most providers find that the ability to meet remotely with patients, offer flexible hours, and work from a variety of locations makes it much easier to attain a reasonable work-life balance, reduces stress, and improves overall job satisfaction.
How do Patients Benefit from Telemedicine?
1. Increased Patient Access to Health Care
Telemedicine improves patients’ access to healthcare by eliminating the distance and travel time between patients and care providers; this is especially true for specialized healthcare providers. Typically a problem found in under-served rural areas, telemedicine services now provide patients with access to a wide array of specialized healthcare services that are not limited by physical distance.
2. Saving Patients Time and Money
Patients spend a significant amount of time and money seeking quality healthcare services. In fact, according to the American Journal of Managed Care , on average, it takes over 2 hours and costs a patient roughly $43 in opportunity costs ( in addition to actual medical costs) for each medical appointment he/she attends. The ability to participate in a telemedicine appointment over a smartphone or computer not only saves a tremendous amount of time, but also reduces the stress associated with taking time off from work and eliminates the associated costs of gas, travel, parking, childcare, and other incidentals.
3. Improving Short and Long-Term Quality of Care
Telemedicine improves the quality of healthcare provided to a patient. Recent findings demonstrate that patients using telemedicine experienced nearly 40% fewer hospitalizations, 30% fewer hospital readmissions, and were nearly 65% more likely to spend fewer days in the hospital.
The elimination of geographic and financial barriers provides telemedicine patients with improved access to preventative care that improves long-term health outcomes.
4. Increased Access to Specialists and On-Demand Options
Telemedicine eliminates potential barriers and makes it possible for both patients and primary care physicians to leverage online or on-demand availability of specialized practitioners to better access the expertise of specialists who are not physically nearby. Telemedicine provides the opportunity for patients to address serious health issues by consulting with the best specialists and health practitioners - not just those that are the closest.
5. Reduced Risk of Catching or Spreading a New Illness
Healthcare professionals take every precaution to prevent illness from spreading within their respective offices. However, despite the best of efforts, patients are often exposed to a variety of illnesses just by sitting in crowded waiting rooms; this creates an especially dangerous situation for patients with weakened immune systems or other underlying health conditions.
Telemedicine eliminates the risk of exposure by allowing patients to access quality health care services without being exposed, or exposing others, to additional illness.
Regardless of whether you are a patient or a healthcare provider, it’s time for you to consider the benefits telemedicine can provide to you or to your practice.
Call us today to learn more about the telemedicine services RevenueXL can provide to you.